Business Relationships

Ok you have your product sorted; you have your packaging on point; you have your supply chain sorted; and you have stock into Retail stores, well done!!!

Now for the tricky part you have done all the hard work. But how do you get the product off the shelf into the consumers hands so that the Retailer needs to re-order, re-order and re-order?

As the beauty market has become ever more crowded and competitive, just being carried by a major retailer is no longer a guarantee for success. Increasingly brands have to compete even within a retailer for attention and customer share. So if you don’t want to end up on page 22 of a major retailer’s website, then you need to come to the table with a plan of action on how you intend to make your retail partnership a success. In this regard, succeeding with a major retail is like playing a game of chess, you always need to be thinking several moves ahead.

The days of giving a single retailer exclusivity in one market for a few years are long gone. Retailers nowadays expect that you will be simultaneously marketing your brand via your own channel and possibly other retailers. But what really matters to a retailer is that you can and are willing to put something special together for their customers. This could be a limited edition bundle or SKU, or it could be a one-off derivative (e.g. special scent or packaging). What retailers want to know is that you can offer their customers something they can’t get elsewhere and, in the process, provide them with a reason to promote your brand.  Everyone loves a GWP (gift with purchase)

When your product goes into stores, then it is essential that you are prepared to deploy the resources needed to train store staff. Think about it, most store staff have been selling other brands for–in some cases–years and, based on this experience, probably have their “go-to” products which they view as dependable and reliable enough to consistently recommend to their clients. As the new entrant, you need to work to earn their trust. And this begins with a commitment to conduct in-store training. You cannot assume that you can do this once and that you are done. No. Other products will be launching after you, so to stay top of mind and be seen as relevant and committed, you need to be willing to come back several times over the course of your launch year to provide refresher trainings and to also receive feedback.

Like any important relationship, your relationship with a major retailer needs to be carefully managed and cultivated. Because problems and issues will inevitably arise and, without solid account management in place, these can spiral out of control. Conversely, lack of account management can also cause you to miss out on great opportunities which a retailer may only offer their preferred brands. Effective account management requires a person who knows and understands that specific retailer and their environment, a person who can collaborate with the retailer to develop joint demand generation plans, and to manage and oversee the execution of those plans.

For more information about being retail ready please contact ph Factor